In normal Houston winters the combination of cool temps, periodic rainfall, and the turf being basically shut down due to cold weather plants use very little water. However, this year is an exception because it has been very dry for a very long time.

Warm-weather tolerant lawns of St. Augustine, Bermuda, Centipede, Kikuyu, and Zoysia grasses can be vulnerable to heavy weed infestations if they don't get enough water in the cold months. If weeds get a foothold now in warm-weather grasses, they can suck up all the moisture you've put down on the lawn. The result: your turf grass goes brown and in the spring you have a lawn of nothing but weeds.

Winter Irrigation Adjustment

Irrigation systems should be adjusted so that all areas of the lawn receive enough water to keep the plants healthy but so that no area is ever extremely soggy or standing in water. Soil types, sun exposure and plant type can vary from zone to zone. Each zone may need to be adjusted to a different setting.  We recommend enough water to wet the soil six inches deep once a week.  We can help you set your system’s zones correctly if you run into problems.

During winter months with early morning temperatures below 38°F, the freeze/rain sensor will prevent sprinklers from coming on. Start times should be later in the morning.

Irrigation Freeze Preparation

When a severe freeze (temperatures below 32°F) is expected, water thoroughly to close air pockets and insulate around root systems, and then turn the sprinkler off.

Prepare your irrigation system for freezing weather by turning the handle of the back flow perpendicular with the pipes. With a screwdriver, turn the screw on each of the two side spouts to release pressure and drain them. Then wrap the back flow and above ground pipes with insulation heavy enough to prevent them from freezing and breaking.

Irrigation systems may not water trees adequately unless they include a drip system. If your system does not include a drip, trees should be deep watered by hose every five to seven days.  Deep water trees by setting the hose to trickle for 30 minutes.

 

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